Monthly Archives: January 2013


Hi, my name is Matt and I like trade shows.

True — I have not ridden an entire seasonal circuit (or two or ten) in a booth as an exhibitor. I haven’t been tethered by the short leash in-between Thursday set-up and Sunday tear-down. Haven’t had weekend after weekend of the always-entertaining-but-never-a-good-idea Friday and/or Saturday night carousing (well, since college and the service anyhow). I haven’t clocked hundreds of hours humping boxes of display hardware and gear, or logged countless winter windshield or business-class airline miles away from the family criss-crossing the country. I’m a rookie. I’m not yet jaded.

But I have roamed 4 of them under the guise of being The Media: IFTD in NOLA, Somerset, Denver and Somerset again just this past weekend. According to some – that’s three too many already. However, I made the latest trip to Jersey under significantly different circumstances. I was still a blog writer, yes – and had a whole lot of fellow writers, photographers, artists, anglers and humorists on my agenda to meet (as I’ve done at the other shows), as well as manufacturers, fly shop owners, fly tiers and other industry folks. I was also representing our film project – A Deliberate Life – that’s touring with IF4 and this particular trade show. And lastly, I was there as a member of the Thomas & Thomas fly fishing cohort, being the guy that runs their digital and social marketing initiatives among other things — the first time my association with them had been made public outside of personal conversations with friends.

To me the shows stand for more than just a necessary evil — they represent the community that our industry is starting to become (or return to, as may be the case). They represent the best and brightest and the young and hungry – which are, in many cases, one in the same. Independent spirit, entrepreneurial thinking and working that much harder (and smarter) to reach goals. They represent the time, energy and creativity that we’re putting into the future of our sport — brands, large and small, being active and engaged with communities, consumers and each other on far more personal levels, which I can only see extending to an increased willingness to lead by example, a push toward more sustainable business practices, and stronger, proactive efforts with regard to environmental stewardship.

I know there’ll be a time when it’ll fall to me to hold down the booth. When I’ll be the one responsible for humping boxes and logging all those miles. When I’m no longer a rookie. I know it. But that doesn’t much bother me. I’ll always be down for handshakes and beers with old friends and new acquaintances and talking about who-caught-what and where, if not actually getting out together and catching who-knows-what-wherever. I’ll always be down for the time and energy it takes to make a difference. Because, shit — this is the path I chose to follow. And when it comes right down to it, these are the good people I want to run that path with.

No, I’m not yet jaded.

Thankfully, that doesn’t mean I’m going to wind up that way either.

The usual suspects - photo by Rob Yaskovic

Scott and Chris putting Vedavoo on the map

Pat Cohen's deer hair stump

The full line-up of new T&T sticks

I wish they got that big in the Adirondacks

The Whitlock's beautiful set-up

Sporting books. My kind of library.


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A chalkboard on the front porch of the general store
in the small Adirondack hamlet that our cabin
is loosely associated with had the forecast
written neatly above the morning’s coffee special
Blue-bird through Thursday it said
followed by a smiley face and the morning’s coffee special
Dark Mountain Morning and so it was
to our surprise after walking back across the footbridge
and following the quiet road a quarter-mile
to the cabin with our coffees and the kids
inhaling homemade blueberry muffins
that the clouds gathered and unrolled over the lake
a wide gray west-bound expanse of rain on the heels
of a wind ushering a 10-degree temperature drop
it was on us before we could grab the towels drying
on the line before we could turn the canoes over
and rescue tackle-boxes and rods and lifejackets
from the dock before we could close cabin windows
and keep the soaking mist off the curtains
comforter on our bed and linoleum floor in the kitchen

In a mad laughing rush though
we did flip the canoes
rescue tackle and close windows
using the somewhat damp towels
to sop-up the linoleum
we found dry warm clothes
chairs on the screened porch
and watched the storm wear itself out
while the kids gabbled like ducks outside
under the run-off from the roof



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